Benefit raffle under way for disabled veterans
Proceeds will go to VA Center in Prescott
During the past three years, 91-year-old World War II veteran John Cornelius of the Village of Oak Creek has raised $33,000 for the Veterans Hospital in Prescott.
The money comes from a raffle and goes to Guest Services at the hospital to be used during the Christmas holidays.
Cornelius served in North Africa and Italy during 1943 to 1945. He says he is now too old to play golf anymore.
"So I'm spending my time promoting the Disabled Veterans Raffle," Cornelius said. "I'm spending the money I used to spend on golf promoting this raffle. There's absolutely no overhead. Every dime goes to the Veteran's Hospital in Prescott."
His goal for this year is to raise $17,000 through the raffle.
The Guest Services Program began in 1994 and is largely supported by volunteers.
In 1994, Vice President Al Gore recognized the program with the "Silver Hammer Award."
The program includes Birthday Buddies that sees to it that employees and volunteers visit every hospitalized veteran on his or her birthday to deliver a card and coffee mug and sing Happy Birthday. Care Ambassadors from Guest Services visit patients, write letters, fill water pitchers and run errands as needed.
The program also provides a courtesy telephone to each hospital ward so that patients have direct access to Guest Services. Prepaid phone cards are distributed to patients by Care Ambassadors. Carnations are delivered to each veteran patient as well as get-well cards, personalized with the patient's name.
A guest shuttle is provided through the program to transport patients from parking areas to their facility destinations. Other services include visits by clowns, in-room movies, free local newspapers and weekly treats of fresh fruit and popcorn.
The raffle features many prizes, including a seven-day cruise to the Mexican Riviera.
Dozens of prizes offer golf packages, meal packages and two-night lodging packages.
The raffle will be held on Dec. 7 (Pearl Harbor Day) beginning at noon at Weber's IGA, 100 Verde Valley School Road in VOC.
But another event at Weber's on the Fourth of July will serve as the official kickoff for the raffle. A barbecue fund-raiser will begin at 10 a.m. and last until 4 p.m. in the parking lot.
Refreshments will be available for purchase, and a free watermelon bust will highlight the event.
"We're going to have entertainment," said Jake Weber. "It will be patriotic music throughout the event."
Weber said all of the proceeds from the Fourth of July event will also be donated to Guest Services at the Prescott Veterans Hospital.
"We're very honored to help the veterans," Weber said.
Raffle tickets are now available and may be purchased at Weber's IGA or directly from John Cornelius at (928) 284-0603.